Other Transactional Authority: A Nontraditional Tool for Partnering with the Federal Government

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (“BARDA”) announced that it has used “other transactional authority” to enter into a novel, comprehensive agreement that is neither a contract nor a grant. The agreement consists of a public-private partnership between BARDA and GlaxoSmithKline to develop new drugs to combat antibiotic resistance. This agreement marks the first time BARDA has used a portfolio approach to combat a public health emergency, as opposed to a single contract or grant for development of a vaccine or other medical countermeasure.

Other transactional authority provides for shared funding and a collaborative means of promoting advanced research and development between government and the private sector. BARDA derives its other transactional authority from the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006, Public Law No. 109-417. The Department of Health and Human Services is one of seven federal agencies authorized to use other transactional authority. Further discussion of this novel method of partnering with the federal government follows.

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